A number of the cases involving lower-level employees caught up in the coffee fund investigation have been dismissed. Mark Beaird is the most recent person to be cleared.
Beaird, like the other defendants whose cases were dropped, performed duties that would not have been different had the recycling funds been directed to the proper account, [state's attorney Richard] Schmack said.

“They had no role in making a decision about which account the funds were going into, and we didn’t think the ends of justice were being served by continuing to prosecute,” Schmack said.

The coffee fund was an off-the-books account for proceeds from the sale of NIU-owned scrap metal and other materials. The account accumulated at least $13,000 since 2005 and held $2,187 when it was closed in August. The money was used for office retirement parties and similar expenses, NIU officials said.

Six cases cases have been dropped since Robert Albanese, former associate vice president of the Division of Finance and Facilities at NIU, pleaded guilty last month to violating the State Property Control Act, a misdemeanor. Albanese, 62, of Elburn, was sentenced to 18 months of court supervision and fined $825.
The investigation is not finished.
Charges are pending against Lawrence Murray, 52, of Rochelle, and Kenneth Pugh, 57, of Sycamore. They are on suspension from NIU. They are due in court in May.
These individuals held middle-management positions in the university, and their role remains to be determined.

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